Ebony Kenney Gets Busy at WSOP

Ebony Kenney
“Black Friday really screwed me.”

Single mother of two, Ebony Kenney provides for her family by playing poker live and, until recently, on the internet.

Affected by Black Friday in a unique way, Kenney actually secured a sponsorship deal with Full Tilt Poker the day before the Department of Justice brought federal charges against the three biggest online poker sites.

Kenney is in Vegas to play her first full WSOP schedule, and is approaching this World Series with a confidence and a bankroll she never had before.

“I’ve been playing better this past year than I ever have before,” she told PokerListings.com in Las Vegas.

“I really won’t be happy unless I make a final table.”

Kenney is fully backed and will be playing a heavy schedule of low buy-in Hold’em events at the WSOP and the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza.

With approximately $60,000 in cashes in the last eight months, all in tournaments with buy-ins of less than $2,200, Kenney has proven she can succeed in this format.

“This year, every time I walk into a tournament room I feel like I can win,” she said.

Prior to 2011 Kenney had only played in three WSOP bracelet events, but that doesn’t mean she wasn't looking forward to spending her summers in Las Vegas.

“I can’t wait for the WSOP every year,” she said. “It’s like Christmas for me.”

With the recent legal developments for poker in the US, the World Series of Poker is more important to Kenney than ever before.

Ebony Kenney 4
Poker for Kenney means the freedom to spend more time with her kids.
 

“I actually got a deal with Full Tilt Poker literally the night before Black Friday,” she told us.

“Black Friday really screwed me.”

Confident in her abilities to earn a living playing poker live, Kenney expresses gratitude for the opportunities her chosen career has given her, both professionally and at home.

“I know a lot of people have the attitude that poker is just gambling, but whatever opinions they may have my job allows me to spend as much time with my kids as possible,” she said.

“Personally I don’t know too many single moms who don’t have multiple jobs or are working fifty or sixty hours a week to make ends meet.”

“I have the flexibility to work when I want playing poker,” she continued.

While many professionals question their choice to trade a regular job for poker at one time or another, Kenney hasn't spent a moment regretting that decision.

“I can remember the worst beat I’ve ever taken,” she said.

“I was driving home after bubbling this tournament on my birthday and it was rush hour, and I was looking at the other people in the cars and I was still thankful that I was a poker player and not working a 9-5 job,” she said.

Check out our Ebony Kenney WSOP Picture book for more photos of Ebony Kenney at the World Series of Poker.

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About Matthew Showell

Matt Showell was born and raised in the fair city of Vancouver, Canada. He now spends the bulk of his time traveling the globe, reporting on the world’s biggest poker tournaments. Matt has lived and breathed poker since the end of high school when he learned the most common variants at home games with his friends. In university he made his living playing low-stakes cash games and multi-table tournaments online while following the professional circuit on television and the Internet and in magazines.

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